GM trawls agencies for 13m European offensive

General Motors is preparing to hire a European agency for an estimated $20m (13m) account to handle advertising of its US Cadillac and Chevrolet cars in Europe.

The move is being described as a “tidying-up exercise” linked to a global shift in responsibilities which General Motors has been orchestrating for the past 12 months. But it could also trigger efforts to sell more of the US marques in Europe, although substantially more than $20m would be needed for a full pan-European campaign.

At present GM sells fewer than 9,000 Cadillacs and Chevrolets a year in Europe.

But the company is moving to a global brand management structure, as are its rivals, including Ford. And for the first time, the Zurich-based General Motors International Operations (GMIO) is taking control of European sales of Cadillac and Chevrolet from its US parent. GMIO is talking to GM roster agencies.

“The decision that sales of US cars in Europe should fall under the umbrella of, and be co-ordinated by, GMIO has only just been agreed,” says one source. “The budget has not yet been fixed. There is the clear opportunity to sell lots more cars, but that will require a lot more money. The alternative is to have a branding campaign. It is looking at its options and part of that is the advertising.”

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